World Net Daily: January 1, 2008
Pro-life activists are calling for an investigation into – and possibly prosecution of – police officers who responded to a severely injured abortion clinic sidewalk counselor, but then allowed his suspected attacker to leave the scene.
"It is unbelievable that an officer would allow an attacker to go free after inflicting life-threatening injuries on an elderly gentleman, then threaten to arrest the witness to the crime," said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.
"That was not only unprofessional conduct, but it showed a fundamental lack of respect for Mr. Snell's life and beliefs. She should face serious discipline."
The attack happened just before Christmas, as Ed Snell, 69, was trying to counsel women entering the Hillcrest Abortion Center in Harrisburg, Pa., according to witnesses at the scene.
According to a report by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, the work of counselors such as Snell had been so effective at Hillcrest that the abortion business had built a 7-foot-tall privacy fence to prevent counselors from speaking to women entering the business.
So counselors started bringing ladders to see over the fence. Snell, however, built a platform on top of his vehicle in order to have a more stable location to stand.
John McTernan, a witness to the incident, said Snell tried to counsel a woman who got out of a vehicle and was going towards the abortion business with a man.
However, the man suddenly jumped the fence, "leaped on the vehicle with Ed and catapulted him off of the vehicle and onto the ground," he said. Snell landed on his back and head and was knocked unconscious, he said.
He was hospitalized with multiple trauma, bleeding in his head, compression fractures of four vertebrae, two broken ribs and a broken shoulder, the report said.
The problem escalated when three police officers who arrived on the scene to investigate allowed the attacker to leave, the report said. Even though the assailant still was in the business when officers arrived, and they were able to talk with him, they allowed the assailant and his companion to drive away, the report said.
McTernan to police: "What are you doing? That's him! That's the assailant!"
Officer: "It is none of your business."
McTernan: "I am making it my business. Ed Snell is my good friend."
The officer then threatened to arrest McTernan, and he responded. "I want to know why the assailant walked away from this scene where an elderly man was left unconscious."
That was followed by another threat to arrest McTernan by the officer, who then drove away.
It wasn't until after the extent of Snell's injuries were documented by the hospital that the assailant was arrested, the report said. A WND call to the Harrisburg police department was referred to the mayor's office, and officials there did not return messages seeking a comment.
"I cannot imagine me [as a pro-lifer], striking someone connected with Hillcrest [Abortion Center], knocking them unconscious, the police coming, the injured person being taken away in an ambulance and the police letting me go," McTernan said. "There is something wrong with that."
The report also said pro-lifers asked the abortion business receptionist about the incident, and were told, "He got what he deserved."
Operation Rescue said the incident was another in a "growing list" of attacks on pro-life advocates in recent months.